Last Minute Packing

This is like the part where you just start throwing stuff into boxes marked “Miscellaneous” right before the movers show up. It’s the 14th of January, and by my own arbitrary rule, this is the day I move on to the next five year span. But I left a bunch of stuff out! I’m not quite done with ages 6-10, even though this is moving day.
So, a quick look around before I head off to the next part, where it starts to get a lot more complicated…11-15.

  • Third grade: this was the year of long division and Roman numerals. The main thing I remember about this school year (hint: not Roman numerals) is that my teacher left (as Miss Kennedy) to get married, came back (as Mrs. Tom Sawyer — no kidding), and taught us the hula. Did everyone who went to Hawaii learn “Hukilau”? We all got up from our desks and tried to copy her as we threw our nets out into the sea.

And some were crazy ’bout Elvis
  • I wanted to say something about teenagers and how god-like they seemed when I was in elementary school. Since my father was a high school drama teacher then, we spent a lot of time in the company of teenagers, either at rehearsals or at our house. Some of our babysitters were my dad’s drama students. Teenagers weren’t just older kids and they weren’t quite grownups either: they smoked and drove cars.The girls wore makeup and high heels and strapless dresses that stayed up.They went on dates and kissed each other, both on stage and off. We pretended to be teenagers sometimes when we got together with other kids. All you needed was a dad-sized white shirt, a pair of pants with rolled up cuffs, a pony tail with a scarf tied around it and maybe a candy (or pretend) cigarette.

And you could dance along with the kids on American Bandstand!
Teenagers were our babysitters, and we grilled them about boyfriends and stuff like that. When my dad’s students babysat for us, they grilled us about him. At rehearsals, the teenagers we knew became entirely different creatures from the ones who kidded around with us in our living room.They were flappers, or murderers and scoundrels, or young lovers, or a couple of gals trying to make it in New York, or sailors, or young ladies and gentlemen learning the importance of being earnest, or madwomen at a tea party, or death on a holiday, or Job and his wife, or the stage manager and the people of Grover’s Corners, just living life in their town.And I know I’m leaving many out, but I remember how much larger than life they were, and how much we basked in the attention of these transformed characters who were, after all, not that much older than we were.

  • I moved into Mrs. Brown’s classroom, which is where I would stay for 4th, 5th and 6th grades. This was an experiment with combined classes, so we felt pretty special to be in there. These were my favorite years in school, despite another broken arm and a month at home with pneumonia. But it’s time to move on.

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